Monday Notebook: Dominant Bull Riders, Clutch Pendleton Performers and More
BY BRETT NIERENGARTEN @PRORODEOBRETT
Everywhere there was ProRodeo this past weekend two things happened - the bubble races were impacted and Stetson Wright or Ky Hamilton won a boatload of money in the bull riding.
There were also several cowboys that helped their NFR case at the Pendleton Roundup, which was the final PRCA Playoff Series Rodeo of the regular season and had a prize pool totaling over $600,000.
- Bull rider Stetson Wright has won $87,700 since Sept. 1 following two wins in Pendleton. Wright is on one of the biggest bull riding tears in recent memory. In the last 18 days, he has finished second in the Average at the Ellensburg Rodeo, first in the Short Round and Average at the Ellensburg Xtreme Bulls, third in the Finals of the Cinch Playoffs, first in 3-of-4 rounds at the Pendleton Xtreme Bulls Finale and first in both rounds and the Average at the Pendleton Roundup. That is a total of 12-for-15 with 11 rides marked 85 or higher this month. The only person who has been able to compete with him has been his traveling partner, the Aussie featured next...
- Bull rider Ky Hamilton made two 90+ Point Rides to win two rodeos over the weekend. Hamilton rode Mr. Wilson for 91 points at the New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo and Angels Landing for 93 points at the Lion’s Dixie Roundup. Since Sept. 11, Hamilton has won almost $30,000 and ridden four times for 87 points or more. He is better in all six statistical categories than he was in 2022, when he finished No. 4 in the PRCA World Standings.
- As of Sept. 18, No. 13-22 in the tie-down roping are separated by less than $10,000. It is anyone’s game with 10 cowboys vying for three spots. Among those in that logjam are Pendleton Champion Blane Cox, two-time and reigning College National Champion Kincade Henry, Cheyenne Champion Luke Potter and 14-time NFR qualifier Tuf Cooper. For context, No. 13-22 are separated by $21,000 in the steer wrestling and $39,000 in saddle bronc riding.
- Bareback rider Keenan Hayes has broken the PRCA regular season earnings record that has stood since 2009. Hayes has made $237,546 to clear Clint Cannon’s old record of $233,504. Hayes. With 56 rides of 85 Points or More, Hayes is the first cowboy to clear 50 such rides in a season as well. Remember, he is doing all of this as a 20-year-old rookie. He set the PRCA Permit earnings record just a season ago.
- Team roper Derrick Begay has moved up five spots from No. 14 to No. 9 since Aug. 28 following win in Pendleton. This past weekend, Begay and partner Colter Todd won over $20,000 thanks to a decisive victory at the Pendleton Roundup. They built off a very encouraging stretch when they won about $18,000 from Aug. 22 - Sept. 3. In that timeframe, he and Todd won Colorado State Fair and Magic Valley Stampede (Idaho) and took third in Walla Walla. They also finished fourth in the Average at the Horse Heaven Roundup (Washington) on Aug. 24
- There are currently 20 saddle bronc riders who have already made more than the No. 15 cowboy did in the 2022 regular season. Last year, $103,739 from Tanner Butner was enough make it to the NFR in the final slot. This year, 20 saddle bronc riders have made more than $105,000 with two weekends still remaining in the regular season. It is very likely the 15th place cowboy will need more than $125,000 to qualify in 2023.
- Tie-down roper Blane Cox made the fastest run of the Pendleton Roundup in the Short Round to likely seal his first NFR since 2016. Cox was 7.8 seconds in the Short Round, which was the fastest of the rodeo by six tenths. He went on to win the Average by one second and won $12,000. He entered the weekend No. 13 in the PRCA World Standings.
- Saddle bronc rider Isaac Diaz moved from No. 19 to No. 15 in the World Standings over the weekend. The seven-time NFR qualifier has been steadily stacking checks over the last 10 days. He earned almost $5,000 for a win at the New Mexico Fair and Rodeo this past weekend and also placed at the Marysville Stampede (California) and the West Texas Fair and Rodeo. Since Sept. 1, he has won $12,500.
- Tie-down roper Trevor Hale’s 7.2-second run to win the New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo matches the fastest of his career. The 21-year-old bested Cory Solomon’s 7.4 on the final day of the rodeo to win $4,275. He is No. 22, but as we saw above, that means he is still in the NFR race. He also 7.2 at the Redding Rodeo (California) in 2022.
- As a saddle bronc rider, Stetson Wright is the first cowboy to ever clear 60 rides of 85+ Points in a season. We started with Stetson the bull rider and now we are ending with Stetson the bronc rider. There have been four documented instances of a saddle bronc rider making 50 rides of 85+ in PRCA history and now Wright has 62 and counting to break his own record of 53.